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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's Pumpkin Season! 10 Ways to Celebrate

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Pumpkin beignets at Prospect. - PROSPECT
  • Prospect
  • Pumpkin beignets at Prospect.
Pumpkin season is firmly underway, and it's a relief to know that the fine restaurants of San Francisco are exploring the ingredient's beautiful versatility rather than just reaching for a can opener. It's being used in sweet as well as savory applications and is even finding its way into a cocktail shaker. Here's a little taste of what local chefs are cooking up with pumpkin.

See also:

- Two Local Pumpkin Beers to Get You Excited for Fall

- Class Alert! Master Sugar Skulls, Pumpkin Pie, and Chutney

- Fall is Here, Bring on the Pumpkins

Nick Ronan of Bisou Bistro cooks pumpkin in Xeres cherry vinegar from Spain (along with soy, brown sugar, water, and salt) for a stuffing in a cold turkey roulade, part of a "Turkey Trilogy" that's currently on the menu. He's also got a vodka cocktail with pumpkin simple syrup, green chartreuse, egg white, and bitters to wash it down, and pumpkin mignardises for dessert. Boxing Room chef Justin Simoneaux also utilizes pumpkin with poultry, serving a cornbread-stuffed quail with pumpkin puree, dirty rice, and cane syrup.

Pumpkin meets grains at Ame, where Hiro Sone is slow braising lamb shank and serving it with Kuri pumpkin risotto, charred treviso, and Syrah wine gastrique, and at Fifth Floor, where David Bazirgan makes a smoked farro "risotto" with Musquee de Provence squash and garnished with fresh roasted pepitas, aged Gouda, fenugreek sprouts, black garlic, and pumpkin seed oil.

EPIC Roasthouse chef Jan Birnbaum offers Winter Squash In All Their Glory, a medley of squash served with spiced pumpkin puree and spicy toasted pumpkin seeds. There's pumpkin crème fraîçhe cheesecake with sugar pecans and spiced whipped cream to cap off a meal.

At RN74, chef Jason Berthold uses pumpkin as a seafood accompaniment, roasting it and serving with Cascade Mountain arctic char, steamed mussels, melted leeks, green apple, and ginger. And at Prospect, pumpkin is available as a meal starter (Cinderella pumpkin and matsutake mushroom soup with Asian pear, hon shimeji mushrooms, and tempura crunch) and sweet finish (pumpkin beignets with pumpkin pie filling, French vanilla ice cream, and honey crisp apple butter).

That should be enough to get your pumpkin fantasies working in high gear today.

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Tamara Palmer

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